TENNESSEE: Gay Couple Sues State Republican Party For Using Their Wedding Photo In Attack Ad [VIDEO]

Nashville’s NBC affiliate reports:

What would you think if you saw your wedding picture being used in a political attack ad? That’s the spot a local gay couple is finding themselves. Their wedding was officiated by a candidate for state senate, but the couple says they didn’t sign up to be caught in the mudslinging.

The Air Force veteran, who suffers from PTSD, said he and his husband are private citizens, and this is casting a shadow on a very important memory. “After being together for nine years, we have a bond,” said Shane Morgan, referring to his husband Landon.

Morgan said that’s why he was shocked to see a political attack ad mailer featuring a wedding picture of the couple with Gayle Jordan, who’s running for State Senate District 14. Jordan officiated the wedding. The mailer features the picture.

Above it, it says, “Liberal Gayle Jordan will ‘destroy the fabric of American society.’ Take her word for it.”

Morgan says the photo was lifted from his Facebook page. He and his husband are suing the Tennessee Republican Party for invading their privacy.

  • Skeptical_Inquirer

    They should win their suit. The GOP just loves to pilfer other people’s stuff and hope they don’t get busted.

    • dagobarbz, fine Italian shoes

      That’s another thing they have in common with the cult of Scientology…

    • Brian Westley

      The law-and-order party — everyone else has to obey the laws, that is.

      • cleos_mom

        And “personal responsibility” — for everyone else.

        • PattyJM

          Rights for me and rules for you. Got it.

      • JCF

        The “we built this” party…unless it’s YOUR wedding photos!

    • UrsusArctos 🐻

      IOKYAR

  • bkmn

    Make them pay. Make them feel it in the bank account.

  • Tulle Christensen

    GOP: “We support protecting intellectual property so people can make money off of what they create”

    Later that day–

    GOP: “Copyright? What’s that?”

    • Nic Peterson

      Also, respect for veterans, but not that one.

      • David Walker

        Icky gays, you know.

        • Susan Samples

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      • Richard, another Canuck

        Also ‘sanctity of marriage’, but not that kind.

        • Amanda B. Rekendwith

          Paging Kim Davis.

      • David B

        This poor guy. I suffer from ptsd due to child abuse and frankly his partner could be the only thing that makes him feel normal.

    • kareemachan

      How many times do they need to be sued to figure out that they can’t use any photo/art/song to promote their idiocy?

      • Cattleya1

        Apparently they are incapable of learning, so it will go on and on.

        • Fella

          I agree, and apparently those on our side are incapable of winning a lawsuit against them to stop this. I mean The Rolling Stones and Neil Young have both complained to the GOP to not use their songs, so why isn’t anyone ponying up with a massive lawsuit to stop these bastards? Is there a lawyer in the house who could explain this? Thanks!

      • CottonBlimp

        As long as the cost of the suit is chump change, then it doesn’t matter.

        Can someone explain to me why a multibillion dollar political corporation can violate a band’s copyright and rarely even pays damages over it but if you download a torrent you could get sued for billions?

    • Sean Warner

      Actually its GOP ” We can Copy, Right?”

    • (((GC)))

      Rather, “We support protecting intellectual property so oligarchical publishing and media conglomerates can continue profiteering from the work of creators long dead.” It’s no accident that the latest of several U.S. copyright term extension acts was nicknamed the Mickey Mouse Protection Act.

      “Copyright creep” goes against the Founders’ original intent of a limited monopoly to encourage authors, artists, etc. to create, yet also allow works to enter the public domain after a reasonable time. U.S. copyright was originally only 14 years, renewable for another 14. Conservative “originalists” are strangely silent about that.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copyright_Term_Extension_Act

      See also…

      http://supreme.findlaw.com/legal-commentary/the-mouse-that-ate-the-public-domain.html

      http://copyright.nova.edu/mickey-public-domain/

  • Matt Henley

    Why wouldn’t this also be copyright infringement?

    • Gustav2

      Facebook is the ‘public square’ and the photo may not be copyrighed.

  • andrew

    Hopefully Shane and Landon have a good lawyer and the money needed to pursue justice. I’m sure the Tennessee Republican Party has got deep pockets.

    • kareemachan

      I have a hunch that some lawyer(s) might do it pro bono….

  • another_steve

    Defund the Right.

    Let’s use our legal smarts and our purchasing power and let’s defund the Right.

  • TJay229

    They (The gay couple) will win.

    • Lizard

      Yes they will. It’s a pretty flagrant violation of fair use.

  • Treant

    Um. Idiots. Free stock photos are…get this…free. Even ones you have to pay for are generally not that expensive if you’re just the tiniest bit choosy.

    But no, it was easier to steal an image and hope you didn’t get caught. Now you get to pay for it.

    Pity it doesn’t come with jail time.

    • LosFelizGuy

      They dont care f they get caught. The coverage they received from it is priceless.

      • peacfulseas inWA

        And fodder for the masses. They will spin it as the LGBT’s are intolerant of our intolerance.

        • (((GC)))

          With all their spin, we could stop using fossil fuels and still get all the energy we need!

      • Lizard

        Their base isn’t going to see it as a Fair Use case. They’re going to see it as a “THE HOMOSEXUALS ARE PERSECUTING US” case.

        • David Walker

          There are times I think we should actually start doing that. Not necessarily with a vengeance, although I certainly see concerted effort as a necessity. They want to be persecuted? They want to find out about it, then let us introduce it to them. They can martyr all they want, but they don’t know shit about persecution. (I’m going to stop…I feel a rant coming on and I don’t have the luxury of time today.)

          • DaMoldBrok

            Please return later in the day, or perhaps tomorrow, when you have the time. A moment on your soapbox is good for your psych.

            And we enjoy the rantings of one that has a few brains cells, when rubbed together, form sentences which bring together statements of common sense, understanding, passion, illumination of facts.

            And, as a dear friend would say, “if it don’t pay rent, let that shit out”!

  • JT

    Rethugs to ignorant supporters: Keep voting for us so we can keep screwing you over. But at least we’ll say we hate the same people. Thanks, chumps!

    • (((GC)))

      The hate is often far more than lip service, unfortunately.

      [edited] Within my lifetime I’ve seen the Republican Party morph from a [supposedly] somewhat principled stand on the role of government into full-blown “I’ve got mine, screw you”, the party that over and over again is on the wrong side of things that shouldn’t be goddamn partisan issues.

      The Rethuglican Party is the party of evil. And with gun care and health control, literally the party of death.

      • Friday

        That ‘principle’ was never more than a means to an end, they just needed and were somewhat able to make their big lies about economics and social injustice respectable.

      • PeterC

        They are now the party of death, You know, the old Palin statement.

        • (((GC)))

          Projection.

    • Goodboy
  • j.martindale

    The party of whoremonger tRump is concerned about Liberals destroying the “Fabric of American Society”? LOL!

  • So, it’s support the troops unless they’re gays, then fuck ’em. I’ve come to the conclusion that Republicans are scumbags decades ago, and everyday is a waking reminder of that fact.

    • Todd20036

      What’s wrong with fucking gay troops? I’ve done that…

      • Now that’s patriotism I could get in front of… I mean behind… oh who am I kidding, in front of.

      • David B

        Oh baby

  • DumbHairyApe

    Sue them for a LOT OF MONEY. It’s the only thing that really gets their attention and is the real love of their lives.

    • northern_neighbour

      Unfortunately the GOP billionaire class will usually cough up whatever seems to be
      the going cost to try to subsidize ignorance and bigotry as a top contender claiming to be “the societal norm” for many maleducated and brain spun persons on the voter’s list. Fear-monging and conquer is their game.

      Anyhow my eyes, thoughts and hopes are now focussed on the Marches for Our Lives of the nearly adult, but oh so wise-ned up children two weeks distant. Bless their outraged little hearts and souls. Everyone should join them as much as possible.

  • The Republicans are saying they blurred his image. You can easily read his bloody name, you frickin’ ding-dongs.

    • Treant

      Ding dongs or dingleberries? You decide!

      • I also like the word dinguses. Those 3 are kinda me go to insults.

    • prixator

      Wasn’t that intentional?

  • DumbHairyApe

    I’ve come to the conclusion that the typical conservative mind operates at a sub-high school level. Some make it up to high school level, few make it to a college level. So the quality of their graphics and the choices they make depict that. SO often their graphics are lame and uninteresting and their arguments are usually sophomoric at best. They use acronyms that spell out things they’re obtuse about, they copy incorrect photos from wrong events, etc.

    Liberals are SO much brighter.

    • William

      Lizard brain versus monkey brain.

      • (((GC)))

        Exactly. Reptile brain (dominate-or-submit as part of the four Fs: fighting, fleeing, feeding, and reproduction) vs. old mammal brain (empathy, nurturing, parenting, socializing, play, etc.).

        The new mammal brain adds abstract language and reasoning. We humans have all three functions going on, to different degrees.

        • northern_neighbour

          In a nutshell.

        • prixator

          C’mon, no need to be coy here, you can say “fucking”. It IS one of the “four Fs”, right?

          • (((GC)))

            Yes, it is! I’ve always heard the four Fs enumerated with that circumlocution; just passing it along.

      • Octoberfurst

        More likely brains (liberals) vs no brains (conservatives)

    • olandp

      That is why they are Liberals.

    • Guy in CA

      I think sub-preschool level would be most appropriate.

    • fuow

      If we’re so bright, why is it that we don’t vote but the conservatards do?

      • DumbHairyApe

        I think it comes down to them being motivated by fear and hate. Those are VERY strong emotions that promote action. We tend to be motived by openness, thoughtfulness, kindness and generosity. Those aren’t “fight or flight” emotions. So, it’s easier to rally the mobs to the voting precincts when you get them into a fear mode.

        • Chucktech

          Theirs is a motivation of primitive, lower-brain instincts.

        • Nick in Pasadena

          You’re absolutely correct, but I am one liberal who currently is being motivated by hate and fear.

        • Cattleya1

          You are absolutely right! I live here in the southernmost reaches of Teabagistan – Naples, FL. From November to April the weather is nice enough for people to turn off the AC and roll down their car windows. Faux News, Rush Limpdick, Infowhores pour out of peoples’ cars at every intersection. There is this constant invocation of hate and fear. Be afraid of the other – anyone who does not talk like you, look like you, think like you, associate with you (at church). It is crude tribalism, but it works for them. It keeps them busy being angry and thinking about the real consequences of what they believe. I just don’t know what can block the appeal of this evil nonsense. They have a berserker mentality – they don’t care if they burn it all down as long as they are the last ones standing when armageddon comes. Sic transit tRump.

        • fuow

          I’m not so sure about the ‘openness’ part, to be honest, though I thank you for using the term ‘thoughtfulness’ instead of my second most hated ‘new’ word: Mindfulness.
          There’s some real truth to what you’re saying. I suspect, though, that by the time the rethugs and mother-fucking christers are done with us, there’ll be more than a few gay men who know fear.

    • Cattleya1

      I cannot agree with you more… the problem is they are currently getting everything they ever wanted by being stupid and obtuse.

    • Amanda B. Rekendwith

      Liberals value higher education much, much more…

      From a recent (2017) Pew Research report (and these results are astounding)…
      % who say colleges/universities have a positive or negative effect on the way things are going in the country:
      Among Dems/Lean Dem: 72% positive, 19% negative
      Among Rebubs/Lean Repub: 36% positive, 58% negative

      Full article here
      http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/07/20/republicans-skeptical-of-colleges-impact-on-u-s-but-most-see-benefits-for-workforce-preparation/

      • (((GC)))

        Education tends to discredit fairytales and self-serving dogmas. Reality indeed has a well-known liberal bias. 🙂

    • Galvestonian

      Why do you think they gerrymander, why do they block votes, why do they come out with ways of depriving good and decent people of the right to vote. Because they can’t win otherwise. Republicans — the party of losers and cheaters.

    • Vista-Cruiser

      And everything is a zero-sum game to them. They think that they’re losing out on something if they treat someone else with a bit of respect or dignity.

  • Buford

    Doe anyone know what the actual law here says…? I know Facebook has rights to all photos as part of the user agreement we all sign our names to before sharing there… so what recourse/standing does this couple have if the GOP steals a photo off of Facebook for use in their paid political ad?

    • olandp

      One of the reasons I deleted Facebook years ago.

      • Buford

        Seems like it could get complicated if the pics were posted to Facebook as ‘Public’…

        • Jamie_Johnson

          Simply posting a picture to a public website does not grant a license to use that picture for anything other than that public website. and it certainly does not give permission for Republicans to use it in a defamatory manner such as this example.

          • Lizard

            There was a case a while back where a pop-rock band posted a photo to their Facebook that they’d taken from the website of a professional photographer without permission or paying for it. They had to take it down because even though they were the subjects of the picture, it belonged to the photographer.

        • Snarky

          The couple’s sharing settings (even if “public”) does not change the existence of a copyright on the photo. That the campaign ad retains context aside from the photo itself (for example, the comments and general design of a FB page) could be seen as mitigating in a “fair use” argument ONLY if the campaign were to make a First Amendment claim. But since that doesn’t apply to political campaigns, that’s pretty weak tea as compared to the photographer’s rights to the image and the couple’s rights to privacy & protection against defamation that private citizens have.

    • Lizard

      The rights to any photo belong to the person who took it. I’m going to assume that this particular photo was taken by a professional wedding photographer, who sold the couple the rights to the photo. Posting the photo to Facebook doesn’t change the fact that they own the rights to it. This isn’t a fair use case, because the Republicans are using it to defame both the couple and the candidate rather than critique it, and they haven’t adequately blurred out the couple’s faces (although I’m not sure that would matter, as they still own the photo).

      IANAL, but as I understand copyright and fair use, the couple can sue the Republican’s asses off for intellectual property theft and defamation.

    • Snarky

      Facebook’s awful TOS affects only Facebook. They don’t have rights to license an image to a third party. The copyright is retained by the photographer unless he or she signs it away to someone else, or unless the photo was shot as “work for hire” in the first place.

  • JWC

    This is so beyond disgusting It shows the callous disregard the GOP maintains for the the American public Yes Sue their asses off Its a slander to common decency

  • BeaverTales

    “Liberal Gayle Jordan will ‘destroy the fabric of American society.’ Take her word for it.”

    I bet these admakers were the same folks who got people all worked up that the fabric of American society would be destroyed because Starbucks put “Happy Holidays” on a coffee cup 3 months ago.

    I wonder how well that boycott is going in Tennessee?

    • prixator

      But, she did use those actual words (watch the video above). She has not yet realized that, in these ultra-sensitive times, one must indicate snark explicitly.

      • BeaverTales

        Sometimes you just gotta be you…

        I don’t want to live in a world where every possible nuance is parsed for an unintended degree of malice that only a homeopathic doctor would consider significant. Christians spew far more evil in five minutes that Gayle Jordan could ever joke about in 5 months.

        I’ll take an off-color remark from an honest atheist over a politician screaming about getting right with Jesus while he uses tax dollars to hush up his inner circle, while putting the make on teenagers and rentboys/girls all to make the most vindictive and horrible people in our society vote for them..

        • prixator

          I agree. Hypocrisy is far worse than a bit of vulgarity.

  • Natty Enquirer

    I wonder what aspect of privacy law they are suing under. False light? If they got a marriage license then their marriage is a matter of public record.

    • J Ascher

      The photo probably isn’t public record and unauthorized use of that is an invasion of privacy at the very least.

      • Snarky

        Use of that photo without consent of the photographer is a copyright violation.

    • Jean-Marc in Canada

      Wow, you’re being an asshole.

    • xzargo

      It’s a photo that they jacked for a political ad, numnuts.

      • Natty Enquirer

        Thanks for the astute legal analysis.

    • Private citizens are seen as having a heightened level of privacy, unlike people in the public eye. These men were and are private citizens, and as such their privacy should be respected. But hey, we are talking Tennessee.

    • Yes, any marriage is a matter of public record: but do marriage licences in the US incorporate photographs of the newly-wed couple with their celebrant? Or post-wedding comments by any of the parties?

    • DogGone

      their marriage is, but photos of people are not public domain

  • SilasMarner

    Take them for every god damned penny you can squeeze out of those evil people.

  • Kevin Andrews

    Typical “Central Park Five” response from the Fascist Republican Gilded Feces.

  • Ninja0980

    Sue these bigoted bastards for all they’re worth.

  • rednekokie

    I hope they get LOTS of money.

  • Friday

    Lawless Christian Right Republicans showing how little class they have again.

  • Liz Burnside

    As far as I’m concerned the entire bible belt is strictly flyover country.

    • Phil2u

      L O L. If you have to stop for jet fuel, Richmond, Asheville, Raleigh, Greenville (SC) are very friendly; I don’t know much about the deep South

  • Wynter Marie Starr

    How dare they take what I assume to be a wonderful memory and crap all over it. I hope this couple sues and wins big time.

    To the gentlemen involved; I’m sorry such assholes exist in the world,

  • Cuberly Deux

    Fuck the GOP.

    • With a long sharp stick.

      • JCF

        I’m thinking something metal. And rusty!

        • Nelson Kerr

          A Christmas tree inserted big end first them pulled out.

          • DaMoldBrok

            A unripened pineapple, after being dipped in turpentine!

  • Matthew Vecera

    I do hope they win. My dearest friends did not. Google “privitere edwards”, it was also covered in JoeMyGod but I cannot find the link.

  • am I the only one who hopes this lawsuit bankrupts the Republican Party?

    • northern_neighbour

      GOP by definition cannot be bankrupted, since they have the large majority of the big billionaires who will insist with their “megabucks, bigly’ that they will call the tune while dividing the rest of society, one group against another, to create the dawning of the new Age of Docile Human Reptilian Slaves.

  • killreligion

    Ok it’s horrible how they have been used but come on TENESSE you can’t do reporting in English? Ugh NBC is embarrassing.

    • Lizard

      Tennessee*, dude.

      • Lars Littlefield

        Hah! LOL!

      • killreligion

        Oh that’s hilarious-it seems amazing we get anything typed on these tiny devices-then the apple programmers change it.

  • GRRRRRRR!!!! It seems that every single friggin day there is a new fresh reason to hate the GOP, as it turns our country into hell.

  • Lars Littlefield

    Sue for every penny the sleazy Repuglican’ts have. Leave them with nothing!

    • brined2

      a bit harsh, don’t you think

      • DaMoldBrok

        No.

  • jayjonson

    Republicans are despicable and shameless.

  • Snarky

    Invasion and copyright violation as well.

    • Jack

      Sorry. Your privacy isn’t invaded by something you make public. Since THEY didn’t take the photo, it’s unlikely they hold a copyright. And it wasn’t merely their photo that was used, but a screen cap of its being posted on the candidate’s Facebook page where SHE referred to destroying the fabric of society. BUT there are other bases for making a claim agains the user.

      • Snarky

        Maybe I needed to spell it out better, that’s my bad. As I mention in other posts further down, the copyright violation I’m referring to is the photographer’s, not theirs. Unless the image was created as a “work for hire” (unlikely), in which case the couple would indeed own the copyright.

        As for an invasion of privacy claim, I think the couple could still go after the TN GOP for taking their FB post out of context and printing it on a campaign flyer without their consent. And even though they blurred the couple’s faces, the legal standard for identifying a party in an image used for commercial purposes is “would the subject of the photo be able to identify themselves?” This is a campaign ad, and not a commercial use, but their attorney could easily ask that the same standard apply.

        • Gustav2

          It was on the candidate’s site, fair game.

  • Tempus Fuggit

    I’m not a copyright lawyer (or any other kind of lawyer, for that matter) but I’m also not sure they’ve got much of a leg here, since they shared the photo on Fecebook. These people are lawyers of the relevant kind, and they say (inter alia): “Facebook can license your content to others for free without obtaining any other approval from you!”

    Last time something like this happened, the result wasn’t much good for the plaintiffs.

  • Boreal

    I hope they win. Fuck republicans with a rusty knife.

  • ‘Til Tuesday

    Why doesn’t Gail Jordan turn it around on them? She should proudly stand for equality and treating everyone with dignity and respect. Make that picture a badge of honor, not shame. And show her opponent for what they are – a bigot.

    And if the people of that district turn Gail Jordan down for that pic – well you wouldn’t want to represent them any way. If they want to vote on their bigotry and hate, well…fuck ’em. And I say that as a Tennessean.

  • LovesIrony

    what fucking fabric gets destroyed by love? the fabric of hate and bigotry.

  • Canadian Observer

    Oh I do hope it is a jury trial, and that the jurors decide to make an “exemplary” award to the plaintiffs.

  • boobert

    We had our pic taken with the mayor who did the ceremony and the county clerk as the witness. If those were ever used in a political campaign , I sue the shit out of them . Even if it was a positive ad !

  • Charles Nelson

    Hey, fellas, join the many people that Republicans have ripped off during campaigns…from unpaid hotel bills, to illegal using of copyrighted music, to using photos without permission. The GOP are engaged in a holy campaign and don’t have to follow any ethical principles.

  • Baltimatt
    • JCF

      Former Southern Baptist. Naturally.

  • DesertSun59

    The GOP should be sued into oblivion for attempting to destroy the fabric of civil society.

  • JCF

    SUE the POS Rethugs, and take Every.Last.Cent!!!! >:-(

    Drumpf: “Maybe we’ll have President for Life”. Rethugs: “He’s joking. Can’t you take a joke, libtards?”

    Gayle Jordan: “Doing my part to destroy the fabric of American society.” Rethugs: “Take her word for it.”

    ETA: “MURFREESBORO, TN (WSMV)” Where my ex-inlaws live. NOT an easy place to be LGBT…

  • Henry Auvil

    I’m guessing the “fabric of American society” is cotton. And I don’t think many Republican white ladies ever picked much of that.

    • brined2

      the currency is cotton

    • KaBoomBOX

      It is the fabric of our lives.

  • SelectFromWhere

    A FB friend once shared a wedding pic of mine I had posted; later, I got a message that it had been shared by someone I didn’t know, who turned out to be a Friend of his, which made me nervous precisely because I had heard of this kind of thing happening. So I wrote to both my friend and his friend asking them to take them down, which made me feel bad, and made THEM feel bad, but I explained to them why and they were kind of astounded that someone would do that with somebody’s wedding photo.

  • David B

    This is kinda silly. What are they internet trolls who go after random people? I mean they could have just had actors. But no let’s go after real people because that works when you are not being anonymous. I am autistic and I have had to deal with this from internet trolls.

  • dcurlee

    Hope they sue the crap out of them. So sick of f’ing republicans

    • DogGone

      Don’t forget to register and vote for every office this year. State and local offices have a surprising amount of power.

  • Dunkerblinker

    GOP runs on a platform that Gay Marriage tears at the fabric of America all while a porn star doodling adulterous POS sits in the Whit House. This hypocrite GOP asswhipes.

    • (((GC)))

      … while a porn-star-diddling, adulterous, admitted sexual predator, lying, cheating, stealing, POS popular vote loser sits in the White House.

      Fixed it.

  • Alexander Stallwitz

    My question is did they consult a lawyer before doing this? I am pretty sure any lawyer half way competent would have told them that it opened them up to lawsuits. Of course, this is the party that thinks Larry Klayman is a legal genius…

    • DogGone

      Well when people get married because they like money or the way someone looks, they shouldn’t be surprised when the results of the union are subprime

  • sfbob

    Once again: WHICH party doesn’t respect the sanctity of marriage?

    • (((GC)))

      The same party, perhaps, that wanted to preserve Terry Schiavo’s empty shell of a body over the objections of her husband, who knew her wishes.

      • DogGone

        btw, did that party pay the medical bills (which must have been astronomical)?

  • Thornton

    Just goes to show how STUPID they are in the Republican party. EVERYONE knows you cannot use ANY picture, piece of art, song or video that is privately owned or copyrighted without the owner’s permission. Why do you think faces are blotted out in videos taken and placed on the TV news? Because the news station did not get the permission of the folks in the video to show their faces. Obviously, those in the Republican camp are MORONS. I hope the couple wins a $H!T load of money.

  • Gene Perry

    Damn .. I hope these guys win this suit & take every $$$ they can squeeze out of the GOP!